According to a report from CDC, nearly 35 percent of Americans are considered obese.
The data goes on to show that the estimated annual medical expense due to obesity nationwide was a staggering $147 billion just six years ago. It turns out that medical costs for individuals who are obese were more than $1,400 greater than those of normal weight.
Meantime, a report from Florida-based NCCI Holdings Inc. claims that injuries suffered by obese workers often lead to substantially higher medical care and are more likely to become permanent disabilities than likewise injuries suffered by employees who are not obese.
“How Obesity Increases the Risk of Disabling Workplace Injuries,” notes the differences in treatment options between a sample of more than 7,000 claims with obesity as a secondary diagnosis and an added 20,000 claims with almost identical demographic characteristics but lacking an obesity diagnosis.
Obesity on the Rise
While you would think health warnings and just commonsense would be enough to have people monitor their weight, that unfortunately is not the case, both in the U.S. and around the globe.
The incidence of obesity is expanding globally.
Here in America, the incidence of obesity is the largest of all reporting countries and the trend continues without any indication of slowing down. Intuitively, the implications of this trend for workers comp bode problematic.
The various medical treatments, expenses and duration are oftentimes, but not always, greater for obese claimants, researchers discovered.
In viewing shoulder and arm sprains, the study reports that the obese claim is much more costly as a wide range of treatments including physical therapy and complex surgery that the non-obese claim did not incur.
The report went on to state that “Essentially, the non-obese claim had only an office visit, X-ray and drug treatment the day of the injury and a follow-up office visit the next day. In total, the non-obese claim had four treatments, while the obese claim had more than 75. A major cost driver for the obese claim was complex surgery.”
Author Michael B. Stack, CPA, Principal, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com. Contact: [email protected].
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